Sussex Police has raised nearly £850,000 – much of it for local charities – from the sale of seized and found property via its hugely popular eBay site.
Ordinarily, police forces use a third party to auction off items which have come into police possession.
For example, if the police recover stolen property with little hope of finding the owner, then the property would typically be sent off to a traditional auction house after a specific time.
Some items are held for up to 12 months in the hope that the owner will come forward, but if this does not happen, then the property must be disposed of.
Items such as paintings, bikes, laptops and watches, which would also otherwise have been disposed of by other means, are sold on the site, along with assets which are no longer required by the force.
The majority of the money made on the online auction shop, launched in October 2015, is put into the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) and divided amongst charities the force supports.
Facilities Specialist Services Manager Natalie Tipler said:
“We have had nearly 29,000 transactions since the launch of our eBay shop, and the money made from the majority of these items will go on to benefit charities across Sussex.
“We have a dedicated team who are trained to assess each item we receive and whether they are fit for sale, have value or need to be disposed of.
“Since April this year, we have had a number of high-value items which have attracted a lot of bidding attention.
“For example, we sold a Cartier Santos watch for £4,750, a Ridley Noah bike for £925 and a Panasonic camera for £972.
“There are some things, of course, we can’t sell on eBay like tobacco and alcohol.
“We do make sure that everything we sell is genuine and not counterfeit, like designer clothes, watches and perfume.
“Where we can sell an item we will.
“We tend to live by the motto ‘one person’s junk is another person’s treasure’, and even now are frequently surprised by how much some items sell for.
“There are still lots of bargains to be had each week, so everyone benefits.”
The ‘Sussex Police Auctions’ eBay shop has an impressive 100% feedback score on 13,492 transactions and has over 30,000 followers.
The shop is maintained and run by Police Staff (civilians) who are tasked with the day-to-day running of the forces property store.
Police property stores often have a considerable amount of inventory which needs to be disposed of.
Sussex Police are one of the first forces to make use of public auction websites to dispose of property that would otherwise be destroyed or sent off to traditional auction houses.
By using eBay, Sussex Police is saving more money that can, in turn, be used for charitable causes, as traditional auction houses often charge a commission of up to 20%.
CLICK HERE to visit the Sussex Police eBay auction page.
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